When you’re living in a state which has legalized marijuana, whether it is for medical or recreational purposes, there is still a fear posed by the federal government. Even though the state has decided these acts are legal, the federal government has not changed their standpoint.
This can create a significant amount of trouble for retailers, patients and family members alike. The last thing you want is your child who is sick with cancer being arrested for their marijuana usage.
The same thing goes for people who are working behind the counters of the dispensaries providing the cannabis. Since they still have to file federal taxes with the IRS there has been some discrepancy on how to go about that without facing legal action for working in a federally illegal industry.
It’s been a long time in progress – and while we haven’t yet decriminalized the plant on a federal level, things are taking a step forward. In December the House took action in preventing the Department of Justice from prosecuting for state-legal medical marijuana use.
Rather than decriminalizing cannabis, the House took a different direction by no longer allowing funds provided to the Department of Justice to be used in effort to prevent the specified states from setting and implementing their own regulations without disruption from the federal government.
Basically, unless the states are not regulating medical marijuana properly they are to be left alone. Examples of situations where the Department of Justice can still step in include distributing to minors, directing revenues to cartels or gangs, using legal sales to cover up trafficking and other similar offences.
However, it seems that the Department of Justice was not fond of December’s ruling and intend to ignore their new funding limitations and continue to interfere in state-legal activities. They claim that the laws do not prevent them from prosecuting or seizing the property of medical marijuana users regardless of state.
Whether or not they will get away with this in the long run is yet to be determined. The Department of Justice does not seem thrilled with their new funding restrictions, however it is clear that voters want the DOJ to leave 420 friendly states alone.
“The Justice Department is ignoring the will of the voters, defying Congress, and breaking the law,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder need to rein in this out-of-control agency.”
Clearly, no one is happy with the DOJ trying to make their own decisions on the medical marijuana policies. The intention of the bill restricting their funding was to protect those in the medical marijuana industry and they are clearly working against Congress for some unidentified reason.